2020 Is Almost Over!

Throwback Thursday is going to be my reflection on the year that was .... How I saw this year ...

Well it's the last day of the train wreck otherwise known as 2020. I've never seen the world hurting this much before. I've seen an environmental awareness growing over the years, yet people still thumb their nose at our home. I've see the absolute worst in politicians scattered across the world this last few years. I've seen racism and hate at it's most socially acceptable. I've seen conspiracy theories in virtually every platform and community I'm involved in. This year I've seen my own community, based on tourism, literally die ... forever. I've often felt like screaming out "stop the world, I want to get off". And with half the world still in lockdown, most of my own industry closed or gone, and many without the capacity to even pay their bills, I think 2021 isn't going to fair much better ...

But in my community I've also witnessed people helping each other when things got really bad ... people who previously ignored each other. I've seen my local government creating short term jobs rebuilding pavements, filling pot holes, planting trees .... anything to justify giving money to the community and something to do while there's no tourists for their regular businesses. I've seen people voluntarily forgiving debts. I've seen a new respect for the poor small sized farmers who grow the food that others now depend on for their lives, because the bigger food companies are gone or closed. People are starting to look more closely at where things come from and what's really important. But I live in a third world nation where the contrast is far greater. I can only imagine what things are like in the US or the UK or Australia (my old home).

I consider myself lucky that even with a few health scares in my family this year, we're all still doing ok, we're all currently healthy and most of all we're a very loving and happy bunch ... and at the end of any day, that's really all that matters.

This year I re-opened pattern school ... after ten years of hiding under a rock. My goal was to try and provide a little online education for fashion students who were no longer able to get to classes. I missed doing fashion things outside of the direct industry and felt like I was going stale.

We recreated the website on the free Wix platform until I was able to get enough money together by selling patterns using PayPal and email so that I could buy a domain name ... then a little bit more to get the most basic automatic shop. I honestly can't believe how many little steps it took to get to where we are now, but slow and steady wins the race every time.

So many people who followed me from 2005 to 2012 on the first site, found me again and many have joined us in here .... and the most rewarding thing for me this year is to have seen the profound effect the first site had on so many people's lives and businesses since. Those simple, really basic lessons were the start so many needed to get a perspective on stretch pattern making. This year I've expanded all that original content and added so much more, which together with the Facebook group has become the single best resource on stretch fit pattern making available today. After only 8 months we've reached an average of 14.4K unique hits a day and the #1 position in Google for all the relevant search topics.

That's all good of course, but there's some even better things. With the Miyumi dress form I learned a whole new 3D grading concept, and people are taking the pattern and doing things with it that I never intended ... it's developing a life of it's own. Then there's also the 12 different breast form wire sizes in three different profiles that can be edited and modified not just for the dress form, but for bra making .... and I have seen others using them for cosplay or latex.

At the beginning of this year I could barely get one person to accept that CAD was a better way to do patterns, and now there are so many of you regularly sharing various tutorials on how to use your preferred CAD package. It's like there's a huge paradigm shift occurring right before my eyes. People who once swore that everything had to be pencil and paper are now helping each other with CAD questions and projectors.

I've gone from solely swimwear for women at 12% ... to including women's dance at 8%, and men's, children's and teens blocks in body, arms and legs ... just wow ... I never anticipated things would grow like this. The website has taken on a life of it's own. I've take my guidance from whatever topic we're discussing, with a little push and help from my amazing moderators. This has truly been a group success.

But the greatest thing of all this year was your vote of confidence ... that so many have supported me and allowed me to just steer the ship in whatever direction I want, allowing me the time to be more creative and explore whatever inspires me at the time.

I've thoroughly enjoyed our discussion topics ... I do like to push boundaries and ask questions I probably shouldn't, but it's my job to challenge people and find out what's really going on. I'm also part artist so there's a lot of emotions and feeling in much of what I ask/discuss ... not just math and science. I truly believe anyone who likes to create things be they swim, dance, costuming or whatever, has to be part scientist, part artist ... it's sort of a pre-requisite. So likewise, don't be afraid to express yourself.

It may have been a tough year, but it's still had its fair share of rewards ... and hopefully there will be more in the year to come.

Many of the older items on my To Do List are still active and coming too. Here's a little of what 2021 may have to offer:

  • Vintage swimwear designs and patterns

  • Alternative swimwear tutorials. eg; pretzels and monokinis

  • Corset forms

  • Latex blocks & pattern theory

  • More advanced stretch fit pattern making tutorials

  • A special toolbox for use in Corel Draw

  • I'd like to get back into trend forecasting

  • I've been doing some repeating print artwork and would like to create some sort of library for people who want to do sublimation printing

  • I'm working on something big with Blender but can't say exactly what yet :P

  • I'm writing a trashy novel (I'm not really, I'm just seeing who's reading all the way to the end)

Another little project I'm working on is to try to put the "lazy peoples patterns" from the old website into Corel Draw scripts. It would work in a similar way ... the script asks your measurements and writes them to a file for future reference with a name ... you select the name and pattern you want (and how much negative ease you want) and the script draws a customized pattern that you can then edit into whatever style you like. A half way between generic CAD and fashion specific software but without the price tag. I'm hoping I can get someone to convert this and the toolbox into something that will work in Illustrator as well.

As always I'm open to suggestions too.

So please everyone stay safe. Be there to help each other, but don't take unnecessary risks. And let's work on turning 2021 into something that makes us forget the year that 2020 was.

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